Does BJJ Build Muscle?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, also known as BJJ, has of course become extremely popular over the past few years! Many people start learning BJJ for the first time every day, and thousands of others are thinking about it!

One thing that many beginners wonder about is whether Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be used to help build muscle? Well, we’ll help you find the answers you need!

Does BJJ build muscle

Yes – But Only Up To A Limit

If you’re starting from a low level of physical fitness, then it’s fair to say that you’ll find BJJ harder to start in some ways than people who begin with a higher level of physical fitness.

However, you’ll also have more room for improvement at the start, so it’s definitely possible that in this case BJJ can help increase your overall level of fitness.

After all, if you’re used to living a sedentary lifestyle, any amount of activity at all is fantastic for your body – even if it feels less than ideal at the time! Going from doing very little to rolling even just once a week will definitely go some way to making you fitter and healthier.

However, no matter how hard you train BJJ, there are definitely limits to how much fitter it can make you on its own.

And, likewise, while any form of physical activity that uses your muscles can make them stronger, the simple fact of it is that BJJ isn’t designed to make you fitter and stronger.

It’s a way of using and expressing the physical capability that you already have – and encouraging you to develop your physicality along with your BJJ skills.

If the only thing that you do as a form of exercise is BJJ, then you’ll eventually notice yourself reaching a hard plateau in terms of your fitness. And you certainly won’t be able to rely on BJJ alone as a platform for developing muscle.

Again, it’s simply not designed for it! It’s a fighting art, and not focused on increasing fitness or promoting muscle development.

So, while there are certainly improvements that BJJ can make to your physicality, you’ll eventually come up against hard limits that will mean you’ll have to do focused fitness and strength training outside of your BJJ sessions.

BJJ And Fitness

Any martial art and fitness go hand in hand, but it’s important to remember that they’re separate disciplines!

Think about it if you look at it from the other way. Being a great runner doesn’t make you a great fighter, no matter how much you run! But good cardiovascular health and stamina developed from running can help to make you a better fighter.

So, it’s important to remember that your training in fitness and muscle development can assist your progress in BJJ, and BJJ can assist in your fitness and muscle development. However, they’re not replacements for each other.

You can’t focus on BJJ alone and expect to get fitter and stronger, just as you can’t focus on running alone and expect it to make you better at BJJ.

Fitness and strength are especially important for BJJ. Skill, technique and discipline are all things that you’ll learn in BJJ, but you’ll never end up in a situation where you’ll regret being fitter and stronger.

They’re just such great advantages, and even the best BJJ practitioners will tell you that fitness and strength count for so much that they’re areas that you can’t neglect in favor of solely learning BJJ skills.

The fitter you are, the easier any physical activity such as BJJ will become for you. You’ll get tired less quickly, and your muscles will retain their strength for longer.

And, BJJ will become even more fun for you! It’s definitely worth increasing your overall levels of fitness and strength anyway – not just for your BJJ!

Fitness and martial arts complement each other perfectly. Improving in one area can help the other immensely – but remember, you have to do both!

BJJ alone, or indeed any number of martial arts, simply can;t replace real exercise and strength training when it comes to improving your physical fitness.

An Excuse And A Reason To Get Fit

With that in mind, one of the absolute best things about BJJ, just as with learning any other martial art, is that it often gives people an excuse and a reason to get fit.

Lets face it, a lot of us simply can’t be bothered with fitness unless we have to!

And a few training sessions at your local BJJ gym can often give you the kick up the rear end you feel you need in order to start taking your fitness more seriously. This isn’t even a bad thing!

No matter what reason you have to get fitter, it’s a good thing to do.

Not just that, but a lot of people simply don’t take the time to get fitter because it’s simply not something that they need in their day to day lives.

No matter whether getting fitter would be beneficial (it certainly is!), many people simply don’t feel like they have any reason to push and increase their physical limits!

This is especially true nowadays, with so many people working jobs that don’t involve their physical labor. If you don’t use your muscles every day, you might not see a point in getting fitter!

However, a hobby that involves physical activity is a great way of finding something worth getting fitter for.

After all, you do your hobbies for fun – and so it can be a great way of introducing yourself to the idea of physical activity and exercise being associated with things that you enjoy!

Well, if you enjoy BJJ, then you’ll certainly want to get better at it – and make your time on the mat easier!

Increasing your levels of physical fitness is a perfect way to do this, and if you’re the type of person that needs a reason to get fit then BJJ could well be the perfect reason you’re looking for!


Hopefully this simple guide has helped you learn what you needed to know about BJJ, fitness, and strength!

Christopher Anderson
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